Thursday, 7 May 2015

Review: The Magik Way – 'Curve Sternum'

'Curve Sternum'

Esoteric Italian duo The Magik Way have been walking their occult path for nearly 20 years. Originally forming in 1996, the band have only recently signed with Sad Sun Music in order to release their output. First came 2013's collection of promo tracks in the form of 'Materia Occulta 1997-1999', with the band's first full-length album proper 'Curve Sternum' coming this year.

The band create ritual music that blends influences such as Ulver and Einsturzende Neubauten to create visceral but entrancingly haunting pieces. Compared to what we heard on 'Materia Occulta...', with it's use of neoclassical, noise and ethereal elements, for the most part the band's instrumentation on the new album is pretty traditional with acoustic guitars and bass, drums, electric guitars and keyboards blending together to create a folk-influenced metal flavour.

Songs such as 'I Corpi Peasanti', 'A Curva Di Sterno', 'L'Orrore' and 'Il Alto Come In Basso' are perhaps the strongest and most occult feeling amongst the track listing with their down tempo presentation and near tribal rhythms coming together to create an entrancing whole.

There are one or two tracks that don't quite hold up though such as the chant orientated 'Yod-He-Vau-He' and 'Scuotiti, Oh Vita!'. There's nothing wrong with them per se, but they sound a bit safer and more traditionally constructed where they could use some experimental flourishes to set them apart.

In terms of production this is pretty strong. It recalls the likes of Ulver and Hexvessel with it's folk elements and vocals high in the mix with the occasional synth flourishes adding a haunting backdrop to the proceedings. It's stripped-back, straight-forward and does what it needs to do.

'Curve Sternum' is a strong album that the band can build on. It would be nice to hear more experimental flourishes within the music and for them to really build on the occult atmospheres they've fostered rather than simply adding more and more folk elements. But nonetheless this is an intriguing and compelling listen that hints at interesting things to come in the future.  

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